I just downloaded hundreds of photos off my camera. I love flowers, and I'm sure there were a hundred photos of gorgeous flowers, ferns, and moss alone. I don't want to bore you with a complete travelogue, but I'll share a few highlights.
We traveled with our good pals Doug and Vicki. They were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, and we were celebrating our 35th anniversary. Doug and Vicki left 10 days before us and toured the northern island. Then they ferried to the south island and met us at the Christchurch airport with the hilarious signs below! Can you make out the Lizzie*Kate on Vicki's sign? After a long flight, we started our time together with a good laugh!
We got our rental car and took off to see the mountains, beaches, green hillsides, glaciers, sheep, deer, cows and everything else...all while driving on the wrong side of the road! Doug and Alan really did a good job (and that GPS was worth every penny!) and we didn't need to do TOO much back seat driving.
Our last 2 nights on the island, we did a "farm stay" at Pete's Farm. I'd been wanting to do a farm stay, and this really exceeded my expectations. Pete and Gay were amazing hosts and literally shared their house with us. And they took us outside for up close and personal time with their farm animals!
But first, we all put on our gumboots, or Wellingtons. Just in case...
Sheep, sheep and more sheep. This guy was really "ba-a-a-a-a-ing" to welcome us.
Pete showed us that sheep don't have upper teeth...just lowers...who knew?!
There were also some friendly llamas...check out he smile on the white one.
Pete asked us if we'd like to see a sheep get a haircut, and we said "yea"...that's New Zealand talk for "yes"! First, the very enthusiastic farm dog has to round up the sheep. He loved his work and never stopped barking while he created a small sheep stampede into the barn.
Pete chose one lucky, very hairy sheep for a haircut and we posed for his "before" picture. Did you know when sheep sit on their back legs they are pretty much immobilized? Pete just rocked him backwards and with his front legs off the ground, he was ready for his closeup...and his haircut!
Pete used to be a professional sheep shearer, so he did a quick haircut. He repositioned the sheep as he cut and got the wool off in one big, furry piece. I'm not sure which end is up in this photo!
We took a short trip to the family dairy farm and visited some equine friends. I definitely thought the calves were cuter than their adult counterparts.
And really, they may be youngster cows, but are they really fooled by this feeding machine?
We arrived in the middle of morning milking time and watched 44 cows simultaneously being milked. They milk 650 cows twice a day! Can you see the lower walkway that runs down the middle? The lucky/unlucky farmer's wife walks in that trough and hooks up all the full-to-bursting ladies to the milking machine. I think the farmer must be a very persuasive person. Can you imagine his proposal...."marry me and you'll get to spend many hours a day on the underside of milk cows?!" Let's just say...this experience confirmed my aversion to drinking milk!!!
Alas, it was time to leave the farm, but not before another silly photo op! We are all avid Kansas State fans (we may have listened to an important football game in McDonald's in rural New Zealand), so we did a little KSU (use your imagination) in the field. It's a tradition to do the KSU wherever you are travelling, submit a photo to the alum mag, and hope it will be published.
As we drove away from the farm, we noticed Pete hanging the laundry with the sheep dog nearby. Now that's a REAL man!